Ruin Me: Kings, “Pilgrimage”

On this week’s episode of Selective Amnesia Theatre, King Silas fakes a pilgrimage so he can go hang out with his mistress in the countryside (you remember, the one he gave up forever about three weeks ago). Silas also brings David with him, because he’s already forgotten that last week he hated David for being the world’s most lifeless king-in-waiting.

This pilgrimage means two things. One, Ian McShane had to do enough acting for two people in all his scenes this week. Two, the moment King Silas turns his back, the palace turns into a pit of vipers, and we get a glimpse of what will happen to this kingdom when Silas dies. One of these things works out much better than the other.

After last week’s sex-heavy blackout, we now get to enjoy two sex scandals (his and hers!), Macaulay Culkin dusting off his creepster glasses, and Katrina Ghent, who I continue to vote in as King every time I make an imaginary ballot asking who the King should be instead of Silas. (Queen Rose, Katrina Ghent, Thomasina, and Death regularly make this ballot. David never, ever does.)

With Silas and David sidelined (Silas manfully gardening and David flat-out lying about having anything to tell Silas, like maybe how he and Michelle got to know each other biblically last week), Queen Rose is in charge of things. Fact: Silas is an inspiring speaker and generally beloved. Fact: Queen Rose is the real bite behind the throne.

She arranges for an unveiling of a portrait of Cabinet officers, which goes well except that Katrina Ghent got painted out and replaced with a flag (oh snap!). When Katrina confronts her about it, the Queen makes it clear that she thinks Katrina slept her way to the top, ignoring the point Katrina makes about Rose’s brother buying her the throne (double snap!). Queen Rose declares she will do anything in her power to keep Katrina from having any recognition or power, ever. And nothing can possibly go wrong when you anger a resourceful woman, so the Queen can sleep tight about that.

Unfortunately, her kids are the two most indiscreet people on the planet, and all sorts of sexy shenanigans are coming to light. Rose and Thomasina have their work cut out for them trying to keep Jack’s boyfriend’s video manifesto under wraps, with their usual luck. Jack seems content with the “I have no idea who he is” defense, until he finds out the video was a suicide note. Then it’s time for some teary-eyed introspection. (Again.)

Meanwhile, a smoothly sociopathic Cousin Macaulay sells Michelle’s photos to Katrina Ghent (ooooh snap), who presents Queen Rose with Michelle’s photos and Jack’s video and tells her to choose which sibling gets spared the public shaming, because the other one is going to air. (Oh SNAP.)

Rose chooses Jack; as she coldly outlines to a gobsmacked Michelle, a few sexy photos of Michelle with her boyfriend is a scandal, but one that will eventually fade. Unspoken but obvious: Jack’s problem is a lot harder to handle in terms of succession, so Michelle gets to bite the dust on this one. Tough luck, unfavored daughter!

Jack comes through for her at the 52-minute mark, though, storming into the Ministry of Information office (which is located in the lobby of Grand Central Station for some reason). “Ruin me,” he demands, insisting he’ll do anything to make Katrina Ghent leave his sister alone. Katrina stops just short of chirping “Happy to!” and suggests that nobody’s sex life has to go to air—if Jack marries her. (OH SNAP.)

In the end, the only person humiliated in this episode is the King, who finds out from his little girl that David was a lying sack of amaryllis bulbs and held back some pertinent details about his dating life. Michelle is thrilled everything is out in the open! David is worried that he lied for the first time in his entire cornfed life! Silas is burning that amaryllis bulb like it’s going out of style.

The theme of this week is best illustrated by the scene in which King Silas point-blank asks David what David thought of the crown of butterflies that settled on his head in the pilot. David says that he grew up on the story of Silas receiving the crown of butterflies as a symbol that he was the next King, and so for David the crown clearly means—he’s meant to serve the king. I mean, come one, there’s guileless and then there’s idiocy. Even Silas is like, “…do you have a concussion or something?” After that revelation, it’s all the meta-story can do to gather all the other characters in the schoolyard and chant “Kingfight!” at them until they do something that indicates they want the throne.

So, after a week of secular political ankle-biting, the other characters haven’t progressed at all, and Silas is stuck hating David just like at the end of last week. I would grasp at straws and say this is ominous and exciting, except that I said that last week, and at this point Recurrent Selective Amnesia strikes King Silas with remarkable regularity. I’m not holding my breath.

And Saul said unto Michal, Why hast thou deceived me so, and sent away mine enemy, that he is escaped?

—1 Samuel 19:17


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